, MOGADISHU, Nov 25 – Two roadside bomb attacks in the Somali port city and former Islamist bastion of Kismayu on Sunday killed at least five people, witnesses and a local pro-government militia said.
One person was killed in a bomb blast at a house next to an administrative building and at least another four were killed in a second attack near a market where women sell khat, a mild stimulant very popular in Somalia.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks but they were blamed on Al-Qaeda linked Shabaab Islamists who were pushed out of Kismayu in September after Kenyan troops allied with pro-government Somali militia stormed the town.
“Two explosions hit the town today,” Ahmed Adam, a commander from the pro-government Ras Kamboni militia, told AFP by telephone from Kismayu.
“The first one killed a woman and injured two others while the second, which was detonated near the khat market, killed several, we are still investigating the exact number,” he said.
“Shabaab carried out the attacks but they only killed civilians,” he added.
Residents however said men from his militia were among the casualties.
Hassan Ilyas, a resident who saw the second bomb go off, said it killed two militia fighters and two women selling khat.
Government security officials and allied militia sealed off the area around the second blast and arrested several people, said Mohamed Abdulahi, another witness.
The Shabaab, who have kept a low profile over the past weeks, on Saturday briefly took control of a small town on the border with Kenya before being pushed back when Somali government troops received reinforcements.